Shares trading on major bourses in Europe fell sharply along with most Asian markets as share markets tracked declining crude oil prices Wednesday and jittery investors turned to perceived safe havens such as the Japanese yen, Swiss franc and gold.
The price of Brent, the international benchmark for crude oil, was down 2.2 percent at $32.53 per barrel while West Texas Intermediate slipped 2.8 percent to $30.97 after Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) heavy weight Saudi Arabia ruled out a production cut Tuesday. A deal by major producers to reduce output in a bid to push up prices was “not going to happen,” Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, reportedly said.
European markets were sharply down Wednesday with shares in Germany off the most. The DAX declined 2.44 percent while France's CAC 40 was off 2 percent and London's FTSE 100 fell 1.33 percent. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 2.05 percent.
In Asia, trading was soft with all stock markets ending the day lower except for China’s Shanghai Composite, which closed 0.88 percent up. China’s Nasdaq-style ChiNext index was down 0.65 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell by the most, closing 1.15 percent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.85 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex closed 1.37 percent below while South Korea’s KOSPI index was down marginally.
In the U.S., stock futures pointed lower, with the Nasdaq stock futures down 0.92 percent while S&P and Dow Jones stock futures were down 0.7 percent.